Mason Rudolph was a popular figure in Stillwater, Okla., because of what his promise represented. Now he’s even more popular because of his production.
Rudolph, a true freshman whose redshirt was scrapped three games ago after Oklahoma State found itself in a sudden quarterback shortage, led the Cowboys to their first win over Oklahoma in Norman since 2001, a 38-35 overtime thriller.
“It was a great feeling,” said Rudolph, who was made available to the media for the first time this season. “We had a great game plan going in and I thought the whole team executed it on both sides very well. We never stopped fighting until the end. It was definitely an incredible ending. I couldn’t be happier to be a Cowboy.”
Rudolph completed 19-of-35 passes for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, a performance good enough for fifth best all-time by an Oklahoma State freshman, according to the school.
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The Cowboys out-scored Oklahoma 21-7 in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Rudolph’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Shepherd with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left in the game pulled Oklahoma State within seven, at 35-28, before Tyreek Hill’s incredible 92-yard punt return for a touchdown with just 45 seconds left to play tied the contest. Ben Grogan’s 21-yard field goal in overtime completed the comeback and the rivalry win for Oklahoma State.
Rudolph, the former Northwestern Trojan was sacked twice and pressured on a number of other occasions by the pass-rushing Sooners.
“When you’re getting hit by those big dudes, it’s a little different than high school,” said Rudolph. “Thankfully, it wasn’t too hard and I tried to get up and continue to lead the team down the field to the best of my ability.”
Oklahoma State running back Desmond Roland was one of a number of teammates impressed by the true freshman quarterback.
“He picks us up, he gets us going, and that’s some qualities you really don’t see from a freshman,” Roland told the Tulsa World newspaper. “Only in his second game of the season, against Oklahoma. So I’m real proud of him.”
Rudolph will get one more chance to quarterback Oklahoma State this season. With the win the Cowboys improved to 6-6 and became bowl eligible for the ninth straight season, a school record. They’ll face Washington in the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2.
“To get one more and to get those extra practices as a team, as a unit, we’re all looking forward to it and we’re going to take it very seriously,” said Rudolph.
• East Carolina fell to Central Florida 43-40 in the Pirates’ regular season finale, courtesy of a successful Hail Mary by the visiting Knights. It was former Northwestern Trojan Brandon Williams’ final home game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, N.C., and recorded 17 tackles, with two for a loss and a pass breakup.
Nation Ford’s J.T. Boyd started on the offensive line for ECU, while Fort Mill’s Worth Gregory punted six times for 38-yard average, with one downed inside the 20. The Pirates will face the Florida Gators in the Birmingham Bowl.
Locals that made all-conference teams
A number of locals, including four from Chester High School were named to recently released all-conference teams.
• In the Southern Conference, The Citadel’s Mitchell Jeter made the second team All-Southern Conference defensive squad. Jeter, a junior and former Rock Hill Bearcat, made 34 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks from his defensive tackle position. Former Chester Cyclone Terrance Morris made the league’s All-Freshman team. Morris, a true freshman linebacker, recorded 49 total tackles, with 7.5 for a loss, and four sacks and two forced fumbles.
• Another former Chester Cyclone, Ariane McCree made the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s all-league second team. McCree, a redshirt senior linebacker, was Jackson State’s second-leading tackler with 89, including 13.5 for a loss and six sacks. He also forced and recovered a pair of fumbles.
• Chester’s Kalon Davis was named honorable mention All-ACC after the redshirt senior started in every game on the Tigers’ offensive line, mostly at right and left tackle.
• Ronald Canty, another former Chester offensive lineman, was named first team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Canty, a redshirt senior and three-year starter at North Carolina A&T, was the lynchpin for the Aggies’ offensive line.
• Rock Hill’s Jatavius Stewart was named to the All-Midwest League first team after a strong campaign for NAIA school William Penn University. Stewart did a little of everything for the Statesmen, catching 13 passes for 337 yards (25.9 average) and six touchdowns and returning 15 kicks for 293 yards (19.5 average).
• Great Falls’ Alstevis Squirewell capped a fine junior season for Newberry by earning an All-South Atlantic Conference first team defense nod. Squirewell, a defensive lineman, was the Wolves’ second-leading tackler with 66. Squirewell was also second in the conference with 16.5 tackles-for-loss and sixth with 4.5 sacks. Former Northwestern Trojan Stephen Nance was named to the league’s second team offense after a strong season on the Newberry offensive line.